Late Preceramic Peruvian Effigy Mound Imagery

Author(s): Bob Benfer

Year: 2018


Here I report the use of multiple imagery for understanding the coastal valley site studied most intensively, El Paraíso. Photographs of carved bone figures, plane table maps, Total Station maps, kite orthophoto maps, aerial photos, Google Earth satellite maps, and planetarium maps provide images that, taken together, permit identification of the effigies.

Identities of both arms of the El Paraíso complex can be recognized: One is a bird. The other resembles the three mythical figures Bischof named the "Monstruo" in an incised bone.

The long axis of the Bird mound at El Paraíso is oriented from the corridor of the principal temple of the site through the body and eye of the bird. On evenings after Zenith days, both the Bird and Monstruo mounds have an azimuth of 32º towards the rise of the celestial river—the Milky Way—through its southernmost point. Other Late Preceramic effigy mound sites and the Late Horizon Machu Picchu site share this orientation. The figures likely represent Andean dark-cloud constellations in the Milky Way.

Cite this Record

Late Preceramic Peruvian Effigy Mound Imagery. Bob Benfer. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 443719)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -82.441; min lat: -56.17 ; max long: -64.863; max lat: 16.636 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 18692